The Guardian Somalia Famine Interactive

The Guardian

Harnessing interactive data visualizations to engage readers with global news

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In July 2011, the UN formally declared famine in two regions of Somalia. This interactive looks at aid flows, media coverage, web searches, and twitter mentions to examine how the world engaged with the crisis before, during, and after the famine.

We worked with journalists, data scientists, and designers at the Guardian UK to assemble a narrative and to design the story flow and visualizations throughout the interactive.

Challenge

The Guardian is an award-winning publication covering American and international news for a global audience. In July 2011, the UN formally declared famine in two regions of Somalia. The Guardian approached our Data Visualization team to create a rich interactive visualization to enable readers to explore aid flows as well as the meta-narrative captured from news coverage, web searches, and twitter conversations to examine how the world engaged with the crisis before, during, and after the famine.

Solution

We worked with journalists, data scientists, and designers at the Guardian UK to:

  • Design the story flow and visualizations throughout the interactive
  • Assemble a narrative from different data sources and meta-data
  • Develop the interactive piece, and in the process, architect and build a reusable code library to support future interactive narratives such as this one (see the Miso Project)

Impact

Our work delivered a novel perspective on the Somalia famine through the lens of media attention and financial contribution. Additionally, the technical work we did to support this interactive was reused in subsequent narratives, thereby speeding up the development of interactive news.

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